With all the bad weather and heavy snows we have been having lately it gives me some time to get a few more paperwork projects taken care of, one of which is the Gun Notes for this month.
Last month I mentioned many of the new products coming out for the new year, and we saw even more at the SHOT SHOW a couple of weeks back. Andy Rowe and I ventured to Las Vegas to the SHOT SHOW and spent 2 days talking to old friends and seeing the new products for this year. Oddly enough, with all the predictions of brand new items and special firearms and firearm accessories, we really found very little that was new.
One of the guns that was actually brand new is the new little Ruger 380, called the LCP. It looks strangely like another little 380 that is on the market but I am being told that it is like it on the outside only. It supposedly has all new internals making it extremely reliable. The LCP by the way stands for lightweight compact pistol. It weighs just a bit over 9 ounces. The frame is a nylon composition with the slide and barrel being steel. The little 380 holds 7 rounds total and is just a hair over 5 inches in length. This makes it a perfect packing pistol for ladies or guys alike. Retailing for slightly over $300 this promises to be a good seller for Ruger.
With the prices of ammunition going higher every week, more and more people are getting into reloading and into casting their own bullets. I have seen a steady rise in the amount of people getting into reloading for years now but this is the first time in recent memory that a lot of people seem to be getting into casting their own bullets. There was a very large contingent of reloading equipment manufacturers at the show and even more that specialized in reloading gimmicks.
Now gimmicks are not my favorite items but some were worth mentioning as they have a place that they fill in the reloading business. One of these is the miniature digital scale. MTM has one out that is easily seated in the palm of your hand. Frankford Arsenal is another. This one measures up to 750 grains. I bought one of these as I often need something that measures over 500 grains, which is the limit with my older RCBS scale. I found the little digital scale actually measured better than my RCBS. I have several steel weights that are a certain weight to run tests on your measure. I put each of them on the new little digital scale and then on the older RCBS and the Frankford Arsenal actually was more accurate than the RCBS. By about 2/10th of a grain, but more accurate nevertheless.
Speaking of MTM, they now are bringing our ammo boxes for new larger calibers. They have boxes for cartridges up to 600 nitro and for all the short fat cases out now also. Most of these are based on the 416 Rigby case which is a fat case, fatter than the normal magnums.
Lots of new reloading manuals coming out for you to choose from. Speer has their new 14th edition, Barnes has their manual #4, Nosler has a new manual out, their 6th, and Sierra's 5th edition with 1152 pages is a good one too.
RCBS has their own chronograph out now. This one is aimed at the average guy who would like to know a bit more about his loads. It is inexpensive too at just a bit over $100.
Hornady is expanding their reloading die section almost daily and will soon be, if not already, the premier custom die maker in the U.S. They have added considerably to their line up of tools, accessories, brass and bullets also. In brass they have added the new 375 Ruger, the 9.3X74, the 416 Rigby, 2 versions of the 450/400, the older 3 1/4" version and the newer modern 3" version. They are also now making the 450 Nitro Express, the 470 nitro express and the 500 nitro express.
Companies that normally manufacture loaded ammo are now getting into components. Remington is bring their own bullets back out after a long absence. Mag Tech which has been a mainstay in inexpensive ammunition for years is coming out with their own components also.
Nosler started it years ago with their plastic tip Ballistic Tip bullets, now it seems everyone is doing it. Barnes has their own polymer tipped bullet in the Triple Shock X bullet line, Nosler has their Ballistic Tip, Accu-bond and their new E-Tip, Remington's Accutip and more companies are planning their versions this year.
New powders coming out this year, one of which is the new Hybrid 100 V from Hodgdon. A new mix of spherical and extruded powder.
Lots of new accessories for reloading coming out this year. RCBS has a new Pro2000 Auto Index press and have an upgrade kit for the older Pro2000 manual presses. Several companies are announcing a system very similar to Hornady's Lock & Load system. I don't know whether this will infringe on Hornady's patent or not.
For those that reload the big cartridges like 50 BMG, 416 Barrett, 408 Chey Tac and many other big boomers, RCBS now has a special case trimmer out for these big guys
In ammunition Hornady is expanding their line up of the soft red tipped bullets for lever action rifles and also for other firearms including certain rifles.
A while back someone asked me if I had heard that someone was bringing back the 5mm ammunition. I told them I thought not as it wouldn't make sense. But I was wrong. They have re-engineered it and now boast a 30 grain hollow point at 2300 fps. This will be in direct competition with the hyper 22 mags and the 17 HMR ammo. This will also make the owners of the old Remington 5mm rifles happy as ammo for them has been scarce to say the least for 20 years now. Taurus is bringing out a new revolver chambered in this new 5mm.
Fusion, a subsidiary of Federal ammo is introducing several new loadings that are a hyper velocity cartridge but light on recoil. It's called Fusion Lite and boasts half the recoil of the standard load. Right now it's in 270, 308 and 30-06 with more calibers coming soon.
For years Norma Ammunition has been known as the company to get that hard to find ammunition for your European rifle. Ammunition like 6.5 carcano, 6.5 Jap, 7.7, all the hard to find 8mms and more. Now they are into the big bore ammo with their African PH line up of ammo. This line up includes 375 H&H, 404 Jeffery, 416 Remington Magnum (when Remington dropped this I wondered if someone would get smart and pick it up, as there are a lot of 416 Remington rifles out there), 416 Rigby, 450 Rigby, 458 Lott, 470 Nitro, 500 Nitro and 505 Gibbs. Each of these calibers comes in a soft point and a full metal jacket loading, and in most cases they are using the famed Woodleigh bullets.
As I mentioned above not that much in the way of new firearms coming out. Retro seems to be the word these days with various companies bringing back some of their popular guns from years past. Colt is bringing back their Storekeeper model Single Action Army and their Sheriff's Model, both in 45 Long Colt and 44-40. They are also bringing back the Frontier Six Shooter in 44-40.
In semi autos they are bring back what they call the Colt 1918, which would be their World War One replica in 45 ACP. This is supposedly being built with original 1911 blueprints and is exactly like the original 1911. They are also bringing back the 10mm Delta Elite in stainless steel. Kase has been credited by a couple of gun writers as highly responsible for the return of the popularity of the 10mm. Other retro semi autos are the Gold Cup Trophy, the original series 70 , the Defender and the Combat Government. Colt hasn't brought out much that was new in the last few years. One exception to this is their new (even though the name is old) New Agent, which is a snubbie 1911 with no sights, mainly designed for close up defense work.
Another Colt that is not being brought back by Colt is the Ace 22 Long Rifle on the 1911 frame. This one is a true copy of the original Ace of pre World War two days. This one is bring brought out by United States Fire Arms Mfg., the folks that bought out the old Colt Blue Dome factory several years ago and the ones that are making true copies of the original Colt Single Action Army.
There is more to tell you about and I will touch on it in the next issue. Our next Handgun Hunters Challenge is coming up this coming weekend in the foothills of Tennessee. I will be joined there by about 20 other hunters. This is HHC 3 and more are planned at probably 2 per year. I will give you more on that also in the next Gun Notes, til then good shootin'.